50% Pass Rate Amendment  

Academic Advocacy is a professional service of QUT Guild, committed to supporting and representing the interests and needs of students in academic matters, navigating university policies and advocating for better quality of education. The Advocacy Team are collaborating with Glass on a series of articles to make sure you know your rights and to help students get through their studies as successfully as possible. 

This article was written by Student Assist Manager, Emma Surman. 

If you were just beginning a new degree back in January 2022, you may remember being told that if you didn’t do so well in more than half of the units you attempted (let’s say you failed more than half of them), that you would no longer be eligible to get help from the government to pay for your studies. That’s right – this meant no more HECS/HELP loan for you. This kind of situation, where you’re not passing at least half of your subjects, is called a “low completion rate.” Well, guess what folks, this is all changing again! The government has passed the amendment to remove the 50% pass rate rule!  

So, what does this mean for students moving forward?  

Here’s the lowdown – universities must have a policy called the “Support for Students Policy”. It’s like their guidebook for helping students ace their coursework. In this policy, it must indicate how the university understands which students might need a little extra help to finish their studies and what kind of support they’re offering. The important part is that this policy has to follow any special rules laid out in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines

Oh, and to make sure everyone’s playing by the rules, universities also have to tell the Minister how well they are keeping up with this “Support for Students Policy.” It’s all about keeping things transparent and making sure students have the best chance at success.  

If a university doesn’t follow the rules in the Act (like not having the right policy or not sticking to it), they might get in trouble. They could face a fine of 60 penalty units. Just to give you an idea, one penalty unit is $275, so that adds up to $16,500 for each slip-up. It’s important for everyone to play by the rules to avoid these hefty fines! 

There are also better updates in the legislation for First Nations students. They are all about making sure First Nations students in higher education get treated well and get the support they need. The government has expanded funding to help more First Nations students join in, aiming to boost participation rates. 

Alright, so here’s the key points surrounding the changes: 

  1. Universities must have solid policies to help students with their studies, especially those who might be facing challenges.  
  1. The changes put more responsibility on universities to check in and report how well they’re following the guidelines, rather than taking away students access to funding.  
  1. If universities don’t stick to it, there could be penalties.  

And the best part is, the whole idea is to give students more support and resources, making sure everyone has a better shot at rocking it in higher education!  

About the author, Emma Surman, Student Assist Manager at QUT Student Guild Advocacy

Emma (she/her) is the dedicated Student Assist Manager for the Guild, leading a team of passionate Advocacy Officers at both Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove Campuses. With a Bachelor’s degree in Education from QUT and over a decade of experience in student services, Emma brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. She is committed to providing top-notch support to students and ensuring their voices are heard. Don’t hesitate to explore the range of Advocacy support services available here and tap into the team’s expertise to make the most of your university journey.


Academic Advocacy is a professional service of QUT Guild committed to supporting and representing the interests and needs of students in academic matters, navigating university policies and advocating for better quality of education.

Articles: 9

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